This article is about one such person – Graham Ware and his organization SupportTheSeals.org. All of the information in this article has come from open sources and some of the primary actors involved, including Mr. Ware.
Let’s start off with what Graham Ware has said about his own organization.
1. Ware claims that Support The Seals is a registered LLC in Arizona. (Source: the SupportTheSeals.org Twitter profile -@NavySEALsOrg)
FALSE. The State of Arizona shows a “pending” LLC application which basically just reserves the name until 1/20/13 (Source: Arizona Corporation Commission). The company itself doesn’t legally exist yet nor did it exist since Ware began his fundraising in 2009, which raises serious tax questions.
2. Ware claimed to be a non-profit organization in June, 2012 on his Facebook page “Navy SEAL Fund.org”.
FALSE. There’s no official business entity registered in Arizona called Navy SEAL Fund let alone one that’s a non-profit 501(c)3 corporation.
There is, however, an authentic 501(c)3 non-profit organization called Navy SEALs Fund which is owned and operated by a decorated retired Navy SEAL to help the families of SEALs who were killed in combat, or who were injured or permanently disabled in combat. Notice the similarity in names? The legitimate organization has an “s” after SEAL while the illegitimate one does not. This is known as typo-squatting or brand-jacking, and it’s a crime.
Typo-Squatting Navy SEAL Charities
In 2009, Ware’s group and the principals behind the Navy SEALS Fund cooperated on a fund raiser that raised over $26,000 to assist three Navy SEALs with their legal expenses in a criminal complaint that was later dismissed.
Shortly thereafter, in 2010, obviously inspired by what he’d been involved in, Ware decided to piggyback on the Navy SEALS Fund’s success by registering two very similar sounding domain names: NavySEALfund.org (notice there’s no “s” after SEAL) and NavySEALsFoundation.org. The former was purposefully created to sound like the group that he helped raise money with and the latter was created to sound like the granddaddy of Navy SEAL foundations: NavySEALfoundation.org (notice again that there’s no “s” after SEAL).
So Graham’s neat little trick of mimicking authentic Navy SEAL charities simply relied on the addition or deletion of one letter – s – as in “shitbird” or “suck-my-dick-you-valor-stealing-money-grubbing-motherfucker”.
From March until July 2012 both of those fake websites, when clicked, took visitors to Ware’s SupportTheSeals.org website with its PayPal donation button in clear view. Here’s a video which demonstrates that little trick.
This strategy takes advantage of innocent victims who believe that they’re typing in the correct URL for either the Navy SEALs Fund or the Navy SEAL Foundation but mis-type the ‘s”. Ware’s scam ended in July 2012 when the Navy SEALS Fund hired an attorney to demand that Ware release the domain names, which he eventually did.
However he’s still out there using the Trident in his logo, wearing it on his sweatshirt, and raising money for SEAL-related issues while keeping an unknown percentage for himself. And he still owns another domain name – NavySEALs.biz – which he has yet to do anything with.
Four Things That You Can Do Right Now
1. Spread the word about Graham Ware and his scam on social media. Ware’s Twitter account is @NavySEALsOrg and his organization’s Facebook address is https://www.facebook.com/NAvySEALsOrg.
Contact Vision-Strike-Ware.com. They’re donating 30% of merchandise bought in this SupportTheSeals.Org store to Ware because he told them that he’s a non-profit charity. Tell them that they should stop supporting someone who (a) doesn’t have a non-profit charity and (b) has been scamming authentic SEAL foundations and charities.
UPDATE (10/5/12): The owners of Vision-Strike-Ware.com have stopped supporting SupportTheSeals.org immediately upon hearing about this controversy. They have also demanded that Graham Ware stop using the above logo which they designed for him back when they believed that he was a legitimate charity. Vision-Strike-Ware.com deserves kudos for taking immediate action on severing ties with Graham Ware and his fake charity.
3. Contact Mark Devine, the owner of NavySeals.org. Tell him that Graham Ware is using his domain name to draw attention to Ware’s illegitimate websites by naming SupportTheSeals.org Twitter account “@NavySEALsOrg” and by naming SupportTheSeals.org Facebook page “NavySEALsOrg”. Devine, as the owner of the NavySEALs.org domain, should be able to ask Twitter and Facebook to close Graham’s accounts or at least force him to get a new name.
4. Spread the word throughout the Special Operations Forces community that Graham Ware has been running a Brandjacking scam against the Navy SEAL Foundation and the Navy SEALs Fund and continues to try to make a profit off the blood and pain of wounded warriors by impersonating a charity that doesn’t exist. At least a dozen Navy SEALS including Marcus Luttrell have signed a cease and desist letter to Ware’s organization yet he continues to not only run his illegal fundraising activities but threatens law suits against anyone who confronts him about it including some of the very heroes that he claims to support.